George Wright of Witney

Discussion in 'Oxfordshire' started by euryalus, Apr 10, 2014.

  1. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

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    About 25 years ago a World War One Star was discovered in a cottage in Marlborough Lane in Witney. It was awarded to L-Cpl George Wright of the Kings Royal Rifle Corps, who was killed in action on 24 August 1916. His army records claim that he was born in Witney, and his name appears on Witney War Memorial, but I can find no obvious birth records relating to that individual.

    The "Birth Index" shows a George Rowland Wright who was born in 1900 and died in 1901, and a George Frederick Wright whose birth was registered in 1902. However, this is surely not the man who received the WW1 medal, because he would only have been 14 at the time of his death - there were some very young soldiers who lied about their ages, but it seems unlikely that any of these mere boys could have become NCOs. is it possible that the army records are incorrect? Or am I missing something obvious in the civil records?
     

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  2. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    But is there any indication as to when?

    It is more likely that he was one of the following, all registered in Witney:

    George WRIGHT, September quarter 1880, volume 3a, page 782
    George WRIGHT, March quarter 1882, volume 3a, page 809
    George Edward WRIGHT, March quarter 1882, volume 3a, page 809

    In 1916, these chaps would have been 34/36, which is more realistic.
     
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  3. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

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    Yes, a man of that age is perhaps more likely to have been a lance corporal. The odd thing about L-Cpl Wright is that, when a research project was undertaken during the 1970s in relation to the men whose names appear on Witney War Memorial, his details seemed to be very elusive.
     
  4. Doug

    Doug Administrator. The Main Man. Staff Member

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    Would the local newspaper of the time carry a notification of his death with perhaps details of relatives?
     
  5. mugwortismy cat

    mugwortismy cat Tenacious to the End!

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    I see that he enlisted in Birmingahm

    In 1901 census there is a George Wright in Aston, b c 1879 in Witney, he is a boarder, his occupation would appear to be navvy

    sorry ref RG13; Piece: 2865; Folio: 156; Page: 33
     
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  6. mugwortismy cat

    mugwortismy cat Tenacious to the End!

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    He may or may not be the George Wright b 1881 in this 1891 census in Corn Street RG12; Piece: 1176; Folio: 170; Page: 38

    he is the Grandson of Caleb Wright, who has two other grandsons living with him and an unmarried daughter Harriet; it's too much to assume that Harriet is the mother of all three, or one, or whether the grandchildren are siblings or cousins without some back-up so I am off to look for baptisms ...
     
  7. mugwortismy cat

    mugwortismy cat Tenacious to the End!

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    OK, no baptisms online ...

    But this is George, Harriet and Caleb in 1881 in Lawrence's Yard claims here that George is his son [all born witney except for Caleb] RG11; Piece: 1516; Folio: 48; Page: 22

    Caleb Wright Head Widr 57 Gardener b. Minster, Oxfordshire
    George Edwd. Wright Son Unm 23 Brick Layer's Labourer
    Harriot Wright Daur Unm 30 Gloveress
    Ellen Wright Daur Unm 10 Scholar
    Eliza Wright Daur 7
    Harry Wright Son 3
    George Wright Son
     
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  8. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    As George is recorded as being 9 months old, it looks like he is this one:
    George WRIGHT, September quarter 1880, volume 3a, page 782
     
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  9. mugwortismy cat

    mugwortismy cat Tenacious to the End!

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    :( I can't identify him in 1911, I am finding George Wrights of the right age in Aston and Birmingham, but they claim to have been born in that area. Also cannot find Attestation papers etc, only the entry in the 'UK Soldiers died in the Great War' database
     
  10. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    But....

    If the George Wright that you found in post #5 above is the right one and his occupation is Navy, then he could well be away at sea in 1911.

    Edited to add: It could be that he changed services from the Navy to the Army later on.
     
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  11. mugwortismy cat

    mugwortismy cat Tenacious to the End!

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    I think it says Navvy rather than Navy; I remember years ago this tripped me up with my ggg grandfather ....

    However, I did wonder if he joined the Army prior to the outbreak of war and is away with them. I haven't looked at FMP since I don't have a sub or any credits, but maybe an Army record is there, I found nothing in the Ancestry collections other than the WW1 casualty list
     
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  12. Daft Bat

    Daft Bat Administrator. Chief cook & bottle washer! Staff Member

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    Drat! That'll teach me to read things properly!
     
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  13. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    euryalus, do you know the exact address where the medal was found? Is there any mileage in trying to track who lived there in case they can be connected with the Wrights? The (unmarried) Harriet Wright who may have been his mother is I think at 18B Corn Street on the 1911 census and still there (upgraded to Mrs H. Wright) in Knight's 1916 directory of Witney. It may or may not be significant that this is very near Marlborough Lane.
    Some much more recent research by Jeff Clements was published last year: his book Remembered: the men on the war memorials of Witney, Crawley and Hailey. Vol 1: 1914-1919 is available in Witney Library at shelfmark 355.1609425. If I remember I will look next time I'm at the library to see what Jeff says about George.
    In Aston in 1911 there is a George Wright who was born in Witney though he is a little older than expected (33). He's a general labourer in a brickyard. What makes me sure that he must be the same person is that he is at the same address as in 1901, boarding with the same family (RG 14/18186, ED 39, schedule no. 197).
     
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  14. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

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    I have seen the various references to a George Wright in the Birmningham area, and although it seems highly likely that this is the man on Witney war memorial, there is still an element of doubt. The initial work on the Witney war dead was undertaken by Jacqui Broome, but she could find very little about "G.Wright" (I have not yet managed to get hold of the latest book, which probably contains much more detail).

    I have attached a picture of the house in Marlborough Lane in which the medal was found. It is the middle cottage in a row of three, which is thought to have been the scene of the Witney axe murder of 30 July 1871. This was for many years the home of "Dick" Green and his wife Edna - in fact I think the medal had a family link to Edna Green.
     

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  15. janetbooth

    janetbooth Top Dog Stalwart

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    The FMP record does not give much more information than that you already have except he enlisted in 1916 in Birmingham and was a Rifleman.

    Janet
     
  16. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    Those cottages are numbered as part of Corn Street. I think the middle one is 32B. Knight's 1916 directory has an E. Evans there.

    On the 1911 census there is an Edward Evans (cab driver) at no. 32B, with wife Ellen and several children, the youngest a 1 month old baby called Edna May (RG 14/8228, ED 10, schedule no. 19).

    Not sure if there is any connection with your Dick and Edna Green who were at the cottage later, but an Edna M. Evans married Cyril H. Green in the Witney district in the second quarter of 1943.

    Postscript
    The abovementioned 1911 census shows Edward Evans' wife as 41 year old Ellen, born in Witney. They said they had been married 22 years. That would fit with an Edward Evans marrying in the Witney district in the second quarter of 1888. There is an Eleanor Wright with matching reference, who could well be Ellen.

    . . . and on the 1881 census in Lawrence's Yard, in the same household where baby George Wright has already been found, there is a 10 year old Ellen Wright. She is shown as Caleb's daughter but I would recommend checking baptism records to check whether she was a daughter or granddaughter.

    So it looks like there is a connection between that baby George and the cottage where the medal was later found.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2014
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  17. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

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    There is a slight problem with the numbering in that two cottages have now been made into one dwelling - the supposed "murder house" in which the Evans family lived was 32B. Cyril Green (known as "Dick Green") was my uncle, and his wife ("Auntie Edna") was indeed an Evans prior to her marriage. She gave the medal to my Auntie Vera, who then gave it to me, the implication being that George Wright was related to the Evans family.
     
  18. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    What I was trying to suggest, perhaps not very clearly, was that the 10 year old Ellen Wright on the 1881 census (post no. 7) was the Eleanor Wright who married Edward Evans, i.e. she was Edna's mother.

    As for the exact relationship between Caleb, Harriet, Ellen/Eleanor and George Wright, I don't think it is safe to say until some baptisms have been found.
     
  19. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I understood that point and would tend to agree. Whatever the exact relationship might have been, I think is clear that L-Cpl Wright had strong links to Witney, and it is entirely appropriate that his name should have been inscribed on the war memorial.
     
  20. crazycatlady22

    crazycatlady22 Well-Known Member

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    It is interesting. I visited the website of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and I found the record of his death there, but on all the other records that I have found for my own family members have the names and address of the soldiers parents. His doesn't have any extra information.
     

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